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Why Is Ukraine So Important For Putin?

Dohmen Capital Research's Photo
by Dohmen Capital Research
Saturday, Jan 15, 2022 - 16:32

By Bert Dohmen
Founder of Dohmen Capital Research Group

 

Recently, the US president Biden had another long telephone call with Putin, the head of Russia. Although we will never know what actually was discussed, a main topic was obviously Ukraine.

Most Americans have no idea why that is important, or even where that country is. But for Russia it is very important. It gives them a “warm water” port on the Black Sea, which does not freeze over during the winter.

We would guess that Putin wants to make it very clear that he does not want the former members of the Soviet Union to become part of NATO. That includes Ukraine.

Here is the ‘official’ version of what was discussed:

  • The Problem: a massive Russian military buildup on the Ukrainian border.
  • Ukraine has warned the United States and European allies that thousands of Russian troops were massing along its eastern border.

Here is a little lesson in geography and history:

This is similar to what preceded Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, a peninsula on the Black Sea. That created an uproar globally, triggering a series of sanctions on Moscow. But Russia paid no attention and kept Crimea, which had been part of Ukraine. NATO is simply a paper tiger.

Crimea has been tossed around like a football for centuries. According to a search, “Crimea became part of the Russian Empire in 1783, when the Crimean Khanate was annexed, then became part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic until 1954.” During that time, there were of course numerous bloody changes.

Dominance over Ukraine gives Russia a warm water port through which its ships can pass through the Aegean Sea, then to the Mediterranean and then the Atlantic.

black sea

Access to the Black Sea is important for Russia. Who controls access from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean through the Dardanelles? Turkey!

Look at where Istanbul, Turkey is. It is at the entrance of the Black Sea. To get there, a ship must go through the Dardanelles from the Aegean Sea. Then through the Bosporus (Istanbul) into the Black Sea to get to the Ukraine.

On the southern tip of Ukraine is Sevastopol. Control of that city is also important for Russia.

The “Treaty of Montreaux” of 1936 gives Turkey full control over what ships can pass through the Bosporus and Dardanelles. Getting rid of Erdogan and installing a Russian puppet is a possibility. But NATO also wants someone friendlier to NATO as a leader of Turkey. NATO ships could then enter the Black Sea to assist Ukraine in fending off the Russians. 

Erdogan, ruler of Turkey, has some huge problems with a plunging currency, soaring inflation, and civil unrest. There are forces that would like to replace him, and others that will fight to keep him in power. Be careful about believing any news articles about Erdogan in the US media. They may be less than truthful.

Syria is also part of this drama. Erdogan helps Syria’s Assad to stay in power. US forces are in Syria defending a US oil company in pumping oil. The US was never invited by Syria, but it is there, basically invading the country.

Over the past year the US base in Syria has seen occasional attacks, which is typically blamed by the Pentagon on "pro-Iran" militias, or also possibly Syrian national forces. 

This is how big wars start. Russia will defend its interests and try to reduce the expansion of NATO. The US and NATO, the paper tigers of the world, will take the other side along with Turkey.

It gets complicated. Turkey is assisting to defend Ukraine against the Russian-supported rebels by delivering weapons to Kiev. It has agreed to give Ukraine the rights to manufacture a sophisticated drone used for military action.

Turkey has the second largest military in NATO. It is telling Moscow to drop its demands on NATO. 

Thus, we believe that the focus of supporters of Russia will be on eliminating Erdogan. That opens up a can of worms in countries like Syria and Libya, where Turkey has been active supporting the local governments.

On January 4, 2022 we read an article on ZeroHedge that US Coalition troops attacked Syria. Allegedly a base of the coalition and US oil firm (Conoco) was being "threatened" in Syria’s oil-rich eastern region, which for years American forces have occupied in support of Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

In the same area lies the country's largest oil facility, al-Omar oil field, as well as Conoco gas field - both under US-SDF control, something Damascus and Moscow have long condemned as an illegal occupation presence intent on blocking Syria from its own vital energy resources. 

Isn’t it interesting that our military is attacking Syria, which poses no threat to us, instead of focusing on China’s eventual invasion of Taiwan and the threats by Russia against Ukraine?

Who would be another beneficiary of renewed tensions in the Middle East? The US war industry! Watch those stocks. An ETF for that sector is ITA, shown below:

ITA chart

Turkey is a pawn in the game over Ukraine. It is a dangerous game. While Washington is only capable of playing checkers, Putin is playing chess. Remember, there are lots of nations and special interests that would like to replace Erdogan, and others that will help to keep him in power.

It will be interesting to watch this chess game. The winner, as always, will be the US war industry.

We wonder how many people in Washington know the above. It would be essential for policy makers. But history and geography have always been the weak points of Washington. Perhaps a history test should be part of the qualification required for a Secretary of State.

 

 

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